Iowa Writes

CAROL LAURIAULT
Learning Chaos Theory in Macedonia, Iowa


Our house sat square on the edge of a field
that rolled west toward the West Nishnabotna River.
My father strung a wire fence to mark the difference
between prairie and yard, chaos and order.

One spring we peered through the wire mesh
to watch the river flood, its silvery gray
water rising to devour the field. And once
a tornado flew up. Rose out of the corn,

hurtled along the river's bank and was gone,
but not before we'd seen its dark funnel churn
or felt the wind in its wake drive a rain so hard
the pelts stung our arms. When my father yelled
from the side porch "Run," we ran like hell.

Our house sat square on the edge of a field
that rolled west toward the West Nishnabotna River.
My father strung a wire fence to mark the difference
between prairie and yard, chaos and order.

One spring we peered through the wire mesh
to watch the river flood, its silvery gray
water rising to devour the field. And once
a tornado flew up. Rose out of the corn,

hurtled along the river's bank and was gone,
but not before we'd seen its dark funnel churn
or felt the wind in its wake drive a rain so hard
the pelts stung our arms. When my father yelled
from the side porch "Run," we ran like hell.

Huddled together in the dark storm cellar,
I didn't know much. I was five. But I knew now
what it meant to be so small and still alive.
Compared to weather we weren't much—

spit on the wind's long tongue. Tinier than
the tiniest milk-new kernel of corn,
and only a flimsy wire fence, and a hole he'd dug
and then doored up in the side yard to save us.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


CAROL LAURIAULT

Carol Wilson Weller Lauriault, a third-generation Iowan, is a University of Iowa graduate. Born in Des Moines, she attended public schools there, as well as in Macedonia and Council Bluffs. She lives in Gainesville, FL, as do her two adult children, Alec and Clea.

This page was first displayed
on July 14, 2006

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